First Congregational Church
(United Church of Christ)
Rev. Toby Jones, Pastor

101 State Street
Charlevoix, MI 49720

Weekly Newsletter- September 30, 2020

First Congregational U.C.C. Charlevoix –
September 30, 2020

From Your Pastor…

                This Sunday we wrap up our “Let’s Celebrate!” pledge drive for the 2021 budget year. Please be sure to bring your completed yellow pledge card to worship this Sunday, as we will be dedicating all our pledges during the offering. Your participation matters and will make a difference. I hope you’ll join me in sending out a huge thank you to the Stewardship Team led by John Dixon. Bob Chapman, John Hess, Julia Heddle, and Bill Wadland all did a fantastic job in orchestrating a successful campaign. Thanks also to Sue Fowler, Bob Dominic, Ruth Chapman, and Don Smith for their powerful, personal testimonies each September Sunday in worship. May our celebration continue!

                Beginning October 4 and running through each of the four Sundays of October, I will be articulating my vision for our congregation moving forward. What will help us grow?  How can we attract and enlist the participation of younger people and families in our many ministries? How might we become an even greater asset to our community? These are a few of the questions I will try to answer in my four October sermons. Please make a point of listening to the entire 4-part series whether you are physically present in our worship services or viewing them at home. You’ll be glad you did. (Those of you interested in an even deeper dive into these important questions might want to order my second book The Way of Jesus: Reforming Spiritual Communities in a Post-Church Age.)

                If any of you are looking for a compelling documentary to watch as we enter a dreary patch of weather, check out “Social Dilemma” on Netflix. It is an in-depth look at how the various social networking platforms – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. – work. The documentary features former designers and officers from all of these tech companies, who left their high-paying jobs for ethical reasons, out of a growing concern that these platforms were doing significant damage to societies throughout the world. Even if you have no personal interest in and never use these social networks yourself, the material in this documentary will help you better understand the violence and unrest in the world today, where it comes from, and why it is getting so much worse. It will also help you better understand your children and grandchildren and the risks entailed in putting a smartphone or computer in their hands. I feel so strongly about the importance of this film, that I am considering hosting a large, community-wide, Zoom-based event to talk about the implications of this #1 ranked film from Netflix. If you see the film and want to help make that happen, please let me know. Such a gathering would definitely make us even more of an asset to this community than we already are. Thanks!

                Our amazing office administrator, Leah Dice, has recently crafted and posted two terrific new documents to our website. One is a prayer request form, the means by which we would add someone to our published prayer list. The form seeks to respect the privacy of those for whom we pray by requiring their permission before adding them to our written prayer list. It also will help us keep the published list more current, organized, and free from outdated information. Such requests will need to be completed and in Leah’s hands by Wednesday in order to be published in Sunday’s bulletin. If you have any trouble accessing or completing this important form, just give Leah a call and she can assist you. The prayer request form can be found on our website ( under the forms tab or by Clicking Here. Submitted requests are sent directly to the church office email inbox.

The second form is designed to help those taking and submitting minutes for your committee meetings. It allows you to record your meeting minutes directly onto your laptop or tablet and send them to Leah straight from your meeting. It will streamline this often cumbersome process and enable our Clerk – Linda Weller – to have an accurate and constantly updated record of all that is going on in our active congregation. Again, just call Leah if you have any questions. GREAT JOB, LEAH! You can access the Meeting Minutes Form, and all other online forms, by visiting our website and selecting the forms tab. 

-Toby Jones

Starting Sunday, October 4, 2020, we will be holding two indoor worship services. One at 9:00 am AND another at 10:30 am.

Limited space is available at each service so please be sure to RSVP early. Social distancing is required and there will be markers on the carpet in the Fellowship Hall for individual groups.

Don’t forget your mask!

Google RSVP is required for contact tracing. Please only submit your form once. Digital Worship bulletins are available HERE as there will only be a limited number of printed copies on hand.

Google RSVP Form- Click Here

If you would prefer to join from home, our Sunday services will be recorded and live-streamed at 10:30 am. Live Worship at 10:30 am- Click Here

If you have questions, please contact the church office at or 231-547-9122 Monday – Thursday from 9:00 am to 3:30 pm.

Update from the Moderator…

As the calendar turns to October, I think that we are living on borrowed time when it comes to holding services outside.  So, it is time to move into Ransom Hall in a controlled fashion verses running helter-skelter into the building in a sleet storm!

Continuing our slow movement back into the sanctuary, our next move is to hold this Sunday’s services in the Fellowship Hall and see how it goes.  We’re all feeling our way through the pandemic.

The plan for this Sunday, October 4 is to provide two services in the Fellowship Hall; the first at 9:00 am and then a second at 10:30 am.  Leah will be sending out an RSVP request this week that will have more questions than you are used to answering.  Since we are limited in the number of people we can allow in the hall for the service, you will be asked to pick one service or the other (or neither) to attend.  For this week, we are setting the maximum number of people at 30 attendees.

There is a possibility that you will not be able to attend the service that you desire and sit in the hall.  We will contact you before Sunday if you need to change services.  You will be able to sit “backstage” on the patio and not be counted in the total for the service.

The room will be set up with folding chairs to provide social distancing and used chairs will be changed out or sanitized between services. 

We will ask that you enter and exit from the doors that open to the parking lot unless you need to use the elevator.  Doors will open 15 minutes before the service.  We will take attendance for contract tracing.  Masks will be required and we will ask you to use hand sanitizer as you enter the building.  If the person is medically unable to wear a mask, serious consideration should be given as to whether that person should access the building. There will be a small number of masks available.  Each person is encouraged to bring their own mask.

Seating in the Fellowship Hall will be limited to 30 people with family units locating on the tape marks on the floor.  Seating shall be from the front of the hall (at the patio doors) toward the back.  An usher will direct the seating in the hall.

The offertory plate will be placed at the entry to the hall. Please place your offerings, and gifts there.

The nursery will remain closed. Children are encouraged to be with their parents.

Only one person is allowed in a restroom at a time.   Sanitizing materials will be provided.

Now, we all want to come together for Sunday worship but if you are not feeling well or uncomfortable meeting with other people please do not come to the church.  Persons that have been exposed to the COVID-19 virus or are feeling ill should not attend services in person.  The 10:30 am service will be live-streamed on our website.

-Bill Trubilowicz